the room and was leaning against the wall near the kitchen
door. "Not tomorrow, and you come-en all that way to git
here. Ain't no sense, not visiten a spell."
" No," his wife interrupted, " we'd be proud to have you
"I'll have to go," Lucille Christian said, "tomorrow, but I
appreciate your asking me. A whole lot."
Her voice stopped, and she stood there, unmoving, but with
no air of expectancy. Mr. Munn felt a compulsion to break
the ensuing moment of silence, which seemed, suddenly, end-
less. But he could think of nothing to say. Then, almost
with gratitude, he heard Willie Proudfit suggesting, "óbut
let's set out on the porch, hit's cool out thar." Then Lucille
Christian turned toward Adelle Proudfit, and took a step
toward the front door. "Yes," she said, "it's been awfully
hot today, worse than usual for this time of year." They
went out on the porch, Willie Proudfit last, carrying a rock-
ing chair. He placed the chair for Lucille Christian.
They sat on the porch, in the darkness, for more than an
hour. They talked slowly, with little pauses between the con-
clusion of one speech and the beginning of the next. In
those pauses there was the sound of frogs down in the low
ground, and the dry, unwearying insistence of the insects in
the trees by the lane. Their voices would rise and fall, slowly
but in a living rhythm, one responding to another, fulfilling
it; but the meaning in those voices would seem to escape Mr.
Munn, unless, by a sudden effort, he forced himself to attend
to them, word by word. That dry, rasping sound from the
insects in the dark trees yonder, that unpatterned, unrelent-
ing, interminable sound, drew him, and enveloped him. It
was as though it was in him, finally, in his head, the essence
of his consciousness, reducing whatever word came to him to
that undifferentiated and unmeaning insistence.
Lucille Christian and Willie Proudfit did most of the talk-
ing. She asked him how his crops were, and he answered her,
unhurriedly, in detail, naming the dates of the planting of
each field, and recalling what the weather had been like at